Graham Smorgon AM

Mr Graham Smorgon AM is an influential Australian businessman, Past President of Carlton Football Club and Trustee of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.


Over the years he has worked as Partner of law firm Barker, Harty & Co, Chairman of Smorgon Steel Group Ltd, Trustee of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation and Director of the Walter and Eliza Institute (WEHI). It’s a life that has involved a lot of meetings, travel and sitting in chairs.


Previously in good health, Graham developed pelvic pain in his 50’s. Life changed. Spasms of pain made prolonged sitting impossible, woke him at night and disrupted the exercise he’d always enjoyed. As a man of influence, Graham’s work life and travel requirements adjusted around his pain needs. It’s a privilege he realises others with pelvic pain don’t always have.


Despite his ability to access a wide range of health care options, there were five years of assessments and procedures – none with lasting benefit – before his pain was diagnosed. It was finding a specialist pelvic physiotherapist who understood pelvic muscle spasm and the need to ‘down-train’ these muscles that has given him relief.


His involvement with the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia is motivated by his belief that this condition deserves to be better understood and talked about. Being well has meant lifestyle change and continued involvement in a stretching and exercise program suited to his needs. Graham Smorgon is currently Chairman of the GBM Group, Smorgon Consolidated Investment and Scental Pacific. He is also a director of Incitec Pivot Limited.

Eugenie Lee

Eugenie Lee is a Korean born visual artist based in Sydney. Her works focus on the human body and mind, and in particular chronic pain.


Over a decade of managing endometriosis and adenomyosis, Lee understands the complex relationships between the biological, psychological, and social factors of the illness. Based on this knowledge, Lee engages and interprets scenarios to communicate the highly private nature of pain through visual narratives in paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Her works strive to reconcile objective medical science with the subjective views of patients, inspired by recent neuroscience’s finding that pain is complicated by each individual’s perceptions and meanings.


Lee steadfastly searches for various ways to bring the two perspectives together, so that the issues faced by chronic pain sufferers can be better comprehended by the wider community, regardless of their background.


In 2014 Lee received a grant, supported by Amplify Your Art, a devolved funding program administered by Accessible Arts on behalf of the NSW Government through Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care. This grant has given her the opportunity to closely work with a pain science team in Adelaide and Sydney, under Professor Lorimer Moseley.


By gathering stories from pain patients, whose voices are often undervalued in pain treatments, and combining this with the latest pain research she aims to create accurately informed and knowledge based artworks.


Lee has been exhibiting since 2002 through selected galleries and prizes in Sydney and Melbourne, and has recently completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts majoring in sculpture, installation and performance. Her works are collected internationally in UK, USA, Russia, Germany, Korea and Australia.


You can see an example of Eugenie’s work entitled ‘Attached to my Adhesion’ at the following link:


Eugenie describes the ideas behind the painting in the words below:


This small-scale self-portrait painting primarily shows the psychological experience of chronic pain. The room set-up, a domestic interior motif which appears in many of my paintings, symbolises an internal body or the interiority of a person. The painting communicates my own personal psychodrama within the enclosed domestic space.


I am shown in this work wearing either a traditional Korean petticoat or funeral dress. In my paintings I often interchange between the Korean petticoat and the funeral dress as they are not only similar in colour and cut; both also stand for a state of vulnerability. A woman in her petticoat in public is considered absolutely taboo in Korean custom as the utmost private moment is exposed. A funeral dress is a symbolic representation of the act of mourning for a loss – for someone who was cherished or for something precious. In this painting, I am wearing only the bottom half of the dress to portray the feeling of incompleteness as a person, a woman, a mother and a friend. The ambiguous pose here gives the impression that I am stifled by what I am witnessing in front of me.


The large bonsai tree standing next to the figure relies on the outside source, the water, to maintain its vitality. Many questions arise from this; ‘what if this water stops flowing, then what will happen to the tree?’, ‘what if the water changes to something more harmful, then what will happen to the tree?’, ‘what if the water is not water at all, what if it’s something toxic, what will then happen to the tree?’. Thus it represents the cycle of anxious and fearful thoughts.


From outside of the window a visceral substance is creeping in, sticking onto the objects in the room. Whether systematically or arbitrarily, it’s hard to say. On the other hand the image of the dragon seems to thrive on this red substance, as if the dragon is encouraging its presence in the room. Every element inside this room, whether it’s beneficial or detrimental, clearly seems at home in this environment, and some, like the tree and the image of the dragon, are even flourishing.